The Hunger Games film series may have wrapped up last month, but there’s still a wealth of Hunger Games material for fans to devour beyond the three novels by author Suzanne Collins and the four feature films based upon them. Of Bread, Blood, and The Hunger Games: Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy, published by McFarland and edited by Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark, is a collection of well-written and thought-provoking essays focused on The Hunger Games series and is a perfect example of the kind of enriching and delicious remedy that will help those fans experiencing the effects of Hunger Games withdrawal in this post-Mockingjay world we live in.

I had the opportunity to review the first version of Adam Korenman’s When the Stars Fade back in 2014, and when I was invited to read the California Coldblood edition, I jumped at the chance to see how the raw nugget of an excellent sci-fic epic had been honed.  All of the potential that I saw in the original shines, and the plot is tightened to create a more digestible piece for readers to process and appreciate. The series has also been converted from a trilogy to a hexology, so the epic has room to breathe a little more and explore some plot points that were almost footnotes in the first version due to the sheer scope of the ambitious storyline.

I love the characters of Roy Scherer and Suzie Miller. I said so when I first read their adventures in Andrez Bergen’s anthology, The Condimental Op. I’m quoted as saying so on the cover of Tales to Admonish #2, which features comic adaptations of the two characters. I probably say it, or some variation thereof, every time there’s a new Roy and Suzie mystery to be read. Well, now my affinity has been rewarded. Small Change is a complete Roy and Suzie novel.

Sean McDonough’s novel, The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain, is billed as horror, but, to me, it feels more like dark comedy.  Maybe I’m just a sick, jaded reader, but the idea of an otherworldly massacre at a theme park billed as the “Most Joyous Place on Earth” gives me a case of the giggles (Okay, maybe it’s the not-so-veiled comparison to Disney that tickles my distorted funny bone.); however, I certainly understand that not everyone will enjoy the warped portrayal of rides, beloved animated characters, and days out enjoying the magic of a theme park.

If the stars didn't die, we wouldn’t live.

C. A. Higgins has found a philosophical quandary in a physical property of the universe and spends her novel preparing the reader for the twist that defines the novel's message.  Though this leaves some questions unanswered for perhaps a little longer than I enjoyed, the murky feelings you're left with at the end make for an excellent discussion piece about technology, the people who use it, and our place in the larger universe.

I’ve seen a lot of Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve contributed to a fair few of them, and even helped to promote one or two. I’ve seen some that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and I’ve seen others that didn’t even come close to reaching their goal. Through it all, my goal has been to crowdfund a project of my own; however, if I’ve learned one thing through all the campaigns I’ve observed, it’s that it’s much easier to fail at Kickstarter than to succeed, especially if you go in without knowing what you’re doing.

Daniel just woke up in a hospital room with a raging headache and has no idea how he got there.  Oh, and, small detail . . . the Universe is broken. 

So begins Meme, the first novel by Jack Cusick.  Daniel immediately takes up with the titular character, Meme, a fairly mysterious representative of the “World Police,” who claims to be trying to fix this rather large problem.  It is apparent that Daniel’s circumstances are inextricably connected to this investigation, and the two team up out of necessity (and attraction?) to get to the bottom of things.

In the nation of Plexus, you need three things to survive and make something of yourself: be born male; be able to acquire a wife by the age of sixteen; and be a Citysin under the nation’s Codex. Families are forbidden to raise their daughters at home; they must give them to numerous state-run orphanages that double as wife brokers for those who can afford to purchase a girl. Girls who are not purchased as a wife by their fifteenth birthday are tossed into the streets alone without certification, Citysinship, or any way to make a living. Young Sevara grew up in Orphanage 127, and she is nearing her fifteenth birthday; however, this fiery, passionate young woman has a special gift to inspire others, and she may be a catalyst to change the face of a nation.

Who you gonna call?

In Madeleine Holly-Rosing's alternate American timeline, America is lead by Great Houses, who rule over the many classes of the lower commoners, highlighting and exaggerating the divisions of class and race that exist and persist in our world.  In this world, the realm of spirits is very close to the world of the living, and when something comes through or is left behind, it can cause havoc among those that would believe that nothing can happen that lies outside of their philosophies.  Striving to protect the balance is a former Pinkerton and a loose coalition of folks comprising various unusual skills.  This is the world that Holly-Rosing offers us glimpses into with her comic, Boston Metaphysical Society, and her new collection of novellas and short stories, Prelude.

Christie Shinn’s Personal Monsters: A Compendium of Monstrosities of Personality is set up like a children’s book, but it’s clear from the start that it’s geared towards adults. First of all, there’s a bit of adult language. More importantly, though, the situations depicted in it are of the type that you’re more likely to encounter and relate to in your adult life.

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